Friday, August 26, 2011


Today is a coffee with lunch kind of day.  My grandmother told me her mother always kept a pot of coffee on the stove and a pot of rice.  That is my grandmother above, an exceptionally classy lady, a member of the Greatest Generation, a dying breed of women, who always had coffee with lunch.

One of my earliest memories is standing behind her in the kitchen.  Sister, as we called her, has her back to me at the stove.  She is in an A-line skirt, navy blue heels, and cream blouse, with an apron tied in a tight bow above the hip.  My father's mother cooked a formal dinner every night for her family of six, usually in heels.  She never spat, except when brushing her teeth, and she gave me my first set of pearl earrings.  Oh, and she loved Chardonnay.

One of my earliest posts here on Ecoculinaire was about Sister. She passed away early this June, and I will never forget the last living moment we shared with her as a family.  We were gathered around her bed, where we had been the entire week.  Around this woman who touched so many hearts with her bright smile and open mind.  Her bedside had been a peaceful, solemn place, where stories were quietly shared as friends and family gathered.  But that Friday, at around Happy Hour, there was a shift in the air.   My grandmother always had nibbles out at 5 and an open bottle of white wine to be enjoyed by anyone who stopped by...and people did stop by to sit a spell.  She called this hour "wine time." 
It was as if the idea came in on a sea breeze.  It was not discussed.  It was not planned.  A spontaneous wine time erupted at Sister's deathbed.   Suddenly my aunts began bustling about in the kitchen.  Cheese plates were brought out, and my Uncle's incredible crab dip.  Glasses brimming with Chardonnay and crackers piled high were passed from hand to hand around my grandmother.  The hands of her children and one of her six grandchildren.  We were there, and even though she had been unconscious for almost a week, we knew Sister was there too.

My grandmother was the essential Southern lady.  A Yellow Dog Democrat who practiced tolerance and lived with an open intellect which allowed her to befriend people from all walks of life. A woman who exuded both a rich warmth and a delicate elegance, like a meringue.   Women of her caliber are dwindling and I think we all need to take a hard look at ourselves today in relation to our grandmothers.  Women born long before the Women's Liberation Movement, who held pride as matriarchs and found their own stride as their children opened new doors for them. 

What doors will we open for our mothers?  Just something to think about over a cup of coffee at lunch.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Boiling Over.

So sorry for my spotty posts this summer.  Have you ever had a window in life where no matter what you do nothing seems to get you ahead of the game?  Weeks of time pass and one thing happens after another in such a fashion that you know the Universe is trying to tell you something, but there is just no time to digest any of the change because there is just almost too much to bear?  I feel like we all go through certain periods of life where change rolls in like a pot coming to a boil, one bubble popping at a time until everything is up in the air.  You just try to keep it together so you don't loose your lid...then things begin to fall into place.

The dust has finally settled here, and so have my nerves.  We are at that point after a move where you feel comfortable enough to have a friend over for a glass of wine without worrying that they might think you are a terrible hoarder.  I purchased my first house plant for our new digs, a big beautiful fern from the Riverside Arts incredible food and arts market that just so happens to occur about a mile from my house on the banks of a huge river in the shade of a gigantic bridge.  The market happens every Saturday, and it is fast becoming a weekend tradition. 

There are many new wonderful things in our life now we are living in this city of rivers.  As we slug our way through the end of summer, I sense a lot of new beginnings.  The next few weeks I will be sharing with you some of the more extraordinary experiences I had this past summer, now that I am in a place where my lid is secure and the dust can be easily swept under the rug...if need be.